Restore and Reset with Christ


It has been a long time since I last wrote anything here.

As we embark on another year, perhaps this is a good time to think about restoring, renewing and resetting our faith journey.

It is interesting that during a trip I took to Rome in the summer, after visiting 20+ churches in the city, the image that impressed me most and got me thinking the most was not any of the beautiful mosaics, sculptures, paintings, or ornate archways in the churches or basilicas. Instead, it was the little drainage holes on the floor of the courtyard outside the little 4th century church, Basilica di Santa Pudenziana.  This basilica is definitely not one of the main churches that tourists would seek out; only, that it was not too far from the hotel that I was staying at.

There was something about the practicality of the crosses as drainage holes that struck me.  I wondered if the crosses were cut by “design”, or the random work of the worker who happened to have Christ in his/her mind constantly.  The church itself is situated at a level lower than the street level and one would need to take either staircases on both sides of the street entrance to get down to the courtyard and the main entrance of the church. I imagine it must be satisfying to see Christ draining away water to prevent the place from flooding during a downpour.  It must be comforting to think of how Christ can help us to get rid of the unwanted.  I think, sometimes, people think of God as far and remote, or Almighty as reflected by the huge sculptures of the Holy One as seen around the city. However, I just love the idea of a practical God that can help us solve some very real, everyday problems!

Perhaps, this image of the drainage hole will serve as a reminder of how we may rely on Christ to restore, renew and reset us for another year living with our faith.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me.    –Psalm 51:10

Wishing you an amazing New Year filled with God’s grace and blessings, and wonderful opportunities to know Him more!

The Christ function C(x)

Christ function

Mathematicians like to describe the world in numbers and formulas when possible. A lot of research tends to find a formula or prove a mathematical statement that describes how certain numbers behave on paper and off the paper, to find the “truth” about numbers even when they are outside our normal human comprehension. I still remember one of the first proofs that I learned at 1st year university concerns the existence of the next prime number bigger than a given one. The proof is absolutely beautiful and elegant!

After studying mathematics for a good few years, one tends to think about everything in mathematics. One Arts-major friend at the university residence once asked me how I would like to place the streamers by the window for a celebration. My reply was to graph f(x) =|x|. Seriously, those functions just float around the brain of mathies all the time. We really cannot help ourselves with normal response sometimes.

Lately, I started thinking about my own faith more and more. As you can imagine, the functions in my head start to say something about faith and religious ideas.

The absolute value function f(x) = |x|, where the number x is the input of the function f and f(x) is the output which gives the distance of x from the number 0, no longer represents the pattern that once described my streamers at the window. It is turning into a Christ function C(x)!

Note that f(-3)=3 and f(3) =3, as both -3 and 3 are 3 units away from 0. In other words, f(x) converts the negatives to positives.

I like to look at the function C, C(x) = |x|, where x is a person and when Christ works on person x, it restores x to be the beautiful person that God created. Doesn’t that make a lot of sense?

When God sent His only Son to us, God sent someone to teach us what we need to do. Christ showed us what it means to love, how we are to have a relationship with God. He healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, raised the dead, cast out devils. He restored those who came to Him.

C(x) = |x|

Wouldn’t you want to be the input x in this Christ function and let Him restore you and take away your sins and iniquities?

It’s a lovely function, isn’t it?

Mathematics describes the truth and God is the truth. Perhaps, it is not a coincidence that a function can describe a truth so elegantly.

I am not sure if I can call this mathematical theology, but I have a few more functions and concepts like this. Maybe.….next time….